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Interview made possible with survivor of Lichtenburg concentration camp

“Filling in as many gaps as possible“ - According to this motto, three freelance workers from the Lichtenburg concentration camp memorial spent a week inspecting documents at the International Tracing Service (ITS).  “We wanted to round out the biographies of Lichtenburg prisoners, so our visit to ITS was helpful,” said Sven Langhammer.

Lichtenburg served as a concentration camp from 1933 to 1939, and from 1937 on it was solely a women´s camp. Memorial employees have been collecting information about the castle´s history for exhibitions and publications for some time. Lichtenburg became a part of the foundation of memorials in Saxony-Anhalt in January 2008.

Langhammer, a historian at the memorial, is in charge of researching prisoners´ fates. “For years we have been compiling the names of men and women who were imprisoned at Lichtenburg concentration camp. We have a lot of information about political prisoners and Jehovah´s Witnesses, whereas the gaps are bigger for the Nazi categories `asocial´ and ´professional criminal,´” reported the historian. “We were able to fill in the clues using documents at the ITS.”

This is Langhammer´s third visit to the ITS for research purposes, and in the meantime he is familiar with the documents and research programs. His colleagues Katja Seybold, also a historian, and history student Jana Harnisch helped do research in the ITS database. “We´re just collecting information here. We will analyze the new details back at our desks in Halle (Saale) or Hanover.”

The colleagues have already done research at the main state archives and memorials. “We were able to learn new and especially exciting information from the ITS´s correspondence files,” reported Seybold. “For example, I was able to find out the birthdate and married name of a female prisoner, and that she was imprisoned only at Lichtenburg and emigrated to England.”

Langhammer was even able to make personal contact with a former inmate of the concentration camp after his last visit to the ITS. “I found a claim for restitution from the year 2002. Four weeks later I was able to interview the woman about her time in the concentration camp,” said the historian enthusiastically.  “We still have to check a lot of names and will come back to the ITS again soon.”